Radical changes for ensuring safety
Proyash School Safety Programme provided intensive support to 14 schools in Savar-Mirpur-Narayanganj, reduced disaster risks and ensured safety of students A year ago, the playground of Savar Girls High School used to remain waterlogged for a couple of days after a light rain had fallen there.
Students of the school, situated in Savar municipality, had to suffer a lot to be present at class crossing the stagnant water, let alone playing on the field.
Besides, the school did not have safe drinking water and hygienic toilet facilities for the students. Not even any emergency exit though around two thousand students currently studying at three multi-storey buildings in the school.
However, at present, the students can spend their leisure playing on the field as it was lifted up with sand and covered with grass in order to resist the waterlogging.
In addition, the school now has safe drinking water, hygienic toilet facility, an emergency staircase and first-aid tools for its students.
All the charges have been made within a year through intensive support and coordination of Proyash, an urban risk reduction project of Save the Children.
The project worked as a driving force to organise and raise voice of the students pointing out their problems and asking the school authority to solve those. As a result, the authority has made such remarkable changes.
Proyash, implemented by Social and Economic Enhancement Program (SEEP) and funded by C&A Foundation, also provided financial and technical assistance to the school in order to resist disaster risks and ensure safety of the students.
“It was very difficult for us to attend in class timely during rain. Our shoes and dresses used to become wet and dirty with mud and rainwater because of the waterlogging in the field,” said Shamsun Nahar, a Class-X student of Savar Girls High School.
“But now, the waterlogging as well as our other problems like unavailability of safe drinking water has been solved. We feel more comfortable in school than before,” she said.
Like this school, thirteen other institutions in Mirpur, Savar and Narayanganj also made such remarkable changes after getting support from Proyash, which helped to reduce disaster risks of the institutions and ensured safe environment for the students.
Along with providing the assistance, the project also disseminated basic knowledge of fire and earthquake among the students by organising mock drill in the schools.
Proyash formed a student council and a School Disaster Management Committee at each of the institutions with a view to introducing the School Safety Programme of the project for making the changes.
Obidul Islam, an officer (urban risk reduction) of Save the Children in Bangladesh, said the members of the student council observed their institutions and pointed out the safety lacks at first, and then they prepared a risk and resource mapping. Afterwards, they prepared a Risk Reduction Action Plan.
Then, the School Disaster Management Committee took necessary initiative to resist the risks by following the action plan, he said.
SM Rafuquzzaman, head teacher of Savar Girls High School, said the initiative not only reduced risks of their institutions, but also helped to develop a good relation among teachers, students and the school management committee.
It also helped to develop leadership skill among the students, he said, adding that many good initiatives have been done at the institution after getting support from Proyash.
“The problems we have solved were needed badly for betterment of our students,” he further said.
Kamal Kanti Shaha, acting principal of Narayanganj High School and College, said they did not know about the safety lacks of their institution until the student council informed them.
“We gladly accepted the risk reduction action plan, which the students had prepared. Then, we solved the lacks through support of Proyash,” said the principal.
“A radical change has been made at our institution after the support of Proyash,” he said, adding that the impact of Proyash activities is so vast that it could not be expressed in words.